Tigers are shocking creatures. Everything about them is impressive: coloration, power, beauty. Unfortunately, no one is shocked that their numbers have been declining. Poaching, illegal trade, and shrinking habitats have reduced tiger numbers from 100,000 in the 20th century to just 3,200 in the 21st. Our century has been one of consistent and depressing decline. But this year, we finally have another good reason to be shocked. The World Wildlife Fund is reporting that the world tiger population has increased, the first time in 100 years.
In 2016, the tiger population stands at 3,890 — a 20 percent increase from 2010. “We can attribute this updated minimum number,” says the WWF, “to rising tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan; improved surveys; and enhanced protection of this iconic species.”
The increase is fantastic news for a species that has been on a catastrophic decline for generations. Besides having dwindling space to live, tigers are the targets of a multi-million dollar natural medicine trade. Illegal and illogical, every single part of the tiger is thought to have medicinal properties. These debunked medicines drive poachers to decimate tiger populations. But for the first time in a long time, conservation efforts are turning the corner.
“Together with governments, local communities, philanthropists, and other NGOs, we’ve begun to reverse the trend in the century-long decline of tigers,” says Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation at WWF. “But much more work and investment is needed if we are to reach our goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022.”
The tiger is the picture of majesty, and our world needs more of them. So here’s a few of my favorite tiger GIFs to celebrate this news. Share yours in the comments below.
Featured Image: jojo nicdao